Episode of the Week : Court Martial

Discussion in 'Star Trek - The Original & Animated Series' started by Botany Bay, May 4, 2014.

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Rate "Court Martial"

Poll closed May 11, 2014.
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  1. BillJ

    BillJ Fleet Admiral Admiral

    But then Spock wouldn't have been playing Chess and found the key to saving Kirk. Plus, it would have been awkward for a witness to also serve as the defense attorney. :techman:
     
  2. Mario de Monti

    Mario de Monti Captain Captain

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    I think it´s an average episode. All the good things (like Spock playing detective) and bad things (like the rather poor courtroom scenes) have been mentioned here already.
    I just want to point out one big asset: we get the "Starship Status Chart" that provides us with several starship registries - and the cause for endless debates and discussions ;)
    Because of that I give the episode a 6, rather than a 5.

    Mario
     
  3. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    As regards the microphone, we should remember that Finney is in control of the ship's surveillance systems. I mean, he's both the officially appointed person in charge of that, apparently ("Records Officer" seems to mean "top computer wizard"), and has already hidden all surveillance system evidence of what really happened to him at the ion pod and afterwards.

    Kirk thus shouldn't be able to rely on any sensors installed on the ship, in terms of plot logic. A handheld or portable device of some sort is clearly needed. Although one operating from the bridge makes rather little sense... It would have been more logical (and equally dramatic) for Kirk to send out search teams equipped with dogs, or their future technological equivalents.

    The search team approach would also allow for a Kirk/Finney showdown where backup is nowhere to be seen: it is Kirk's team that finds Finney (of course), and Finney drops the redshirt teamed with Kirk before the final fisticuffs begin. In the episode, there's no rationale for Kirk going out so unprepared and without backup, because his very reason for beaming up to the ship with the jury is to smoke out Finney. Clearly, he wasn't relying on being able to talk Finney into surrendering over the PA system - he doesn't even attempt that before drawing his phaser and walking out. So why not beam up with the jury and six redshirts?

    ...It's really not too much to ask, even for a man of his position. He could tell the jury that he feels like going homicidal and needs to be guarded by multiple armed servants of the court. :p

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  4. Robert Comsol

    Robert Comsol Commodore Commodore

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    I really don't think that the "Starship Status Chart" was such a good thing. Without it Greg Jein would not have come up with his theory to read the list from bottom to top and assign the "NCC-1700" position to the Constitution. Instead he would have had to use The Making of Star Trek as the main source, which states twice "Enterprise Starship Class". :rolleyes:

    About the episode itself I didn't like the deus ex machina conclusion (i.e. the visual recordings had been tampered with).

    That should have been a possibility to be examined right from the start. I'd expect a court martial in the 23rd Century to be more meticulous and earnest in its proceedings.

    And Cogley was exaggerating with his "man vs. machine" lamenting. After all, this was Kirk's memory against an apparently simple visual video recording.

    But the episode featured a great line from McCoy: "All my friends look like old doctors, all his [Kirk's] friends look like you" :lol:

    Bob
     
  5. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    But Kirk would be damned either way, as he and he only (and Spock, and the dead man) would have been capable of it. :p

    It is a very surprising turn of events that the victim turns out to be the murderer; investigations would not readily start from that assumption. A process of elimination would lead to the conclusion eventually, and indeed this happened on very short notice - but it's plausible that the first few days would be spent with the accused simply unable to explain what might have happened, and the others implicitly trusting a trustworthy source of evidence.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  6. Mario de Monti

    Mario de Monti Captain Captain

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    I agree about the weird theory Greg Jein concocted and the resulting confusion about the classification of the Enterprise. But that doesn´t take anything away from how special that chart is, IMO. It provides us with the only NCC registries besides "1701" and "1017" and these numbers are as official and canonical as it gets. I for one am very happy that we have them. YMMV of course ;)

    Mario
     
  7. feek61

    feek61 Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Well, there was nobody on the ship for back-up and the Enterprise had very little time before entering the atmosphere; perhaps too short amount of time to beam-up a security team. Plus, it gave our Captain the opportunity to be the hero, lol. Kirk is a bad-ass with a phaser; for me that's good enough.


    For the record I like the starship chart!! :)
     
  8. scotpens

    scotpens Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Excuse me? Finney faked his own death and attempted to incriminate Kirk. Ergo, there was neither murderer nor victim.
     
  9. J.T.B.

    J.T.B. Rear Admiral Premium Member

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    The legal/courtroom stuff is weak, no question. I suppose if Cogley was such a great lawyer he wouldn't set up shop at Starbase 11, which looks like a fairly sparse settlement. How much legal action can he get into there? As I've gotten older he comes across to me as even more of an eccentric, holed up on a fringe world with his thousands of books. If they wait for the other members of the court to show up, presumably they could also wait for another Starfleet JAG (or any lawyer) to come to defend Kirk. But, for whatever reason, he seemed content with Cogley.

    Shaw's prosecution is not much stronger than Cogley's defense. And it's always bugged me that Stone is the investigator, the convening authority and the president of the court. How about a little adversarial balance in the system?!

    Overall, though, I quite like the episode. When I was a kid it was one of my favorites, because it had so many "world building" touches in it, and it is the origin of many Trek background details. The first reference to "Starfleet Command," ranks and serial numbers, the "NCC" chart, Kirk's early career and awards, the first dress uniforms (though they would appear on TV earlier in "The Menagerie.").

    The guest cast is really strong. Elisha Cook Jr. was a well-known character actor who worked steadily for a loooong time. I like how Stone was portrayed, all business. Richard Webb hit a good level of deranged.

    The heartbeat masking thing was a little contrived, not to mention the prop, but it reached a nice dramatic moment with Stone's "Finney!"

    Spock's matter-of-fact statement that he knows ALL about computers is great. As usual, the civvie clothes are awful.

    I like it too, but I would have liked it better if there were some different letter-combo prefixes.

    Overall, a nostalgic episode for me, which I think still works despite some holes. I give it a 7.
     
  10. scotpens

    scotpens Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I thought Cogley's traditional-yet-futuristic suit looked cool. Jamie Finney looked like a tackier version of Sailor Moon.

    [​IMG]
     
  11. J.T.B.

    J.T.B. Rear Admiral Premium Member

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    Well to each their own. The pic you posted earlier reminded me how much I didn't like it. It looks like Munchkinland tailoring, made partly of upholstery vinyl. If you need immediate ambidextrous access to your pen, though, that jacket would be a winner!
     
  12. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    ...Because Kirk had opted not to arrange for such. It was Kirk's doing that the heroes were on the ship in the first place, and he could and should have come with an army.

    This emergency only developed after Kirk had set out on a solo hunt of the evil Records Officer.

    Probably so. And who knows what Finney might have done to prevent beaming. But that only accentuates Kirk's failure to prepare.

    Sure - I'd just have preferred the version where he's the hero who finds Finney, while other heroes elsewhere are also sensibly toiling on the issue but don't have the great luck of being at the most heroic spot at the most heroic time. ;)

    What? Finney made himself the victim obviously enough. And by doing so, he made Kirk a murderer - which might well mean Kirk being executed, making him the victim and Finney the murderer. Not that I'd have meant it quite so literally, anyway.

    As for the "Cogley lurking in a one-horse Starbase" argument, I'd rather milk the editing error regarding the bar, and argue that in fact the colony around the Starbase was so vast that people who had spent the previous night at the base bar could the next day be on the other side of the continent, having to travel from there to the court of inquiry.

    Stone or his secretary might well have failed to inform the three stooges of the jury before they dispersed to sightsee the planet. Or then he had in fact informed them all of the upcoming task, and they were staying at the base, ready for work, but Kirk didn't know this and erroneously assumed that the summons that had gone out last night had yet to produce a result.

    The planet appears to be Class M - people there live next to domes, not under those, as more clearly seen in the TOS-R version of the base in "The Menagerie" but already possibly hinted at by the conventional, non-spacehab-like architecture of the office tower. Why not assume the entire planet is being exploited and inhabited?

    (Incidentally, why is Finney's daughter there? What part of Finney's plan would cause Kirk to be sent to this specific location after "murdering" Finney? In order to get his plan rolling, did the poor man not just have to wait until encountering an ion storm, but until encountering an ion storm close to Starbase 11? Or was the presence of the daughter a total coincidence? Or indication that civilians at random spots of the Federation can travel very fast to locations like this when hearing bad news?)

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  13. J.T.B.

    J.T.B. Rear Admiral Premium Member

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    Apparently Starfleet didn't think so; they charged him with culpable negligence, not murder.
     
  14. Armored Saint

    Armored Saint Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    This episode has a lot of flaws and oddities, but I really appreciate it.

    Another oddity: Why the hell Finney was assigned to the Enterprise. He seems to have enough friends among commanding officers to not having to serve under a Captain with whom he has a difficult relationship.
     
  15. BillJ

    BillJ Fleet Admiral Admiral

    Did anyone actually know that Finney had an issue with Kirk though?
     
  16. J.T.B.

    J.T.B. Rear Admiral Premium Member

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    Stone said it was "common knowledge" that something had broken up the once-close friendship of Kirk and Finney. But Finney probably kept how much he resented Kirk well hidden. Officers are assigned where they are needed, and if Finney wasn't considered professional enough to serve under his former friend, he would probably need to worry more about his next career than his next assignment.
     
  17. BillJ

    BillJ Fleet Admiral Admiral

    Okay. It has been a while since I have seen the episode. :techman: